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Mayor Parker Raising Health Insurance Premiums For Some City Retirees By 50% After Saying In Her Inaugural Address These Are People Willing To Brave Fire Ants

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has allowed insurance premiums paid by retired city employees to go up by nearly 50%.

Here is what Mayor Parker said about Houston city employees in her inaugural address

“I also know that the city’s workforce is one of the best anywhere. I see them every day; I know many of them—and I know the commitment they have to doing a good job. We hear on the news about the small disasters, the things that go wrong. In truth, we rarely notice the smooth workings of this city—how much of it goes right. So we miss the smaller, invisible events: the two Water Department crews who worked through a cold February night to repair a sewage leak. The nurse at one of our clinics who worked a double shift because they were short staffed — and did that three days in a row!  The Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care employee who rescued a dog from a drainage culvert in the middle of a thunderstorm — getting thoroughly soaked and ant-bitten in the doing!”

(Here are facts about fire ants in Texas.)

This is from the Houston Chronicle of March 30

“Beginning May 1, more than 4,000 retirees under 65 will face a nearly 50% increase in their insurance premiums, a budget fix the Mayor imposed without consulting City Council.”

Mayor Parker is not a heartless person. I think she cares about others.

Though at the same time Mayor Parker was silent on the federal health care reform that will benefit many in Houston. She was silent on this Houston-releated concern even as she spoke up on the federal census, federal EPA standards, and possible job losses at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Mayor Parker was clear from the beginning that she would be focused on the city budget and the city debt.

Yet Mayor Parker is no longer our City Controller as she was before she became our Mayor. Her focus now must involve the human needs of all our city.

During her campaign, Ms. Parker allowed herself to be portrayed as a so-called fiscal conservative. She wanted potential Republican voters to see her as one of them, and she wanted other voters to see her as a watchdog over city funds.

Ms. Parker also knew that the great majority of Houstonians and poor Houstonians would not vote in the 2009 election.  She knew the unmet needs of much of the city could be ignored in her campaign.

In a city of over two million people, only something like 155,000 people voted in the race for Mayor.

Mayor Parker has shown strong leadership in taking on entrenched racism and sexism at our Houston Fire Department.

Social justice is an economic concern as well as about matters of human rights.

Mayor Parker was reported in the Chronicle story to be willing to consider reversing her decision on the insurance premiums.

I hope  Mayor Parker will decide that potentially leaving more Houstonians and more Texans uninsured is not the right course.

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Kids Playing In Hurricane Ike Flood Waters Risked Fire Ant Attack

Here is a picture I took the day after Hurricane Ike of young people playing around in Hurricane Ike caused flood waters.

Beyond disease and submerged sharp objects possibly lurking in this water, in Houston there is always the prospect of floating colonies of fire ants. These ants will attack you if they can get close enough. Below is a picture of fire ants. Here is information on Fire Ants.

Here is a Texas Liberal safety tip—Stay out of flood waters.

Here is the link the United Way’s Hurricane Ike help fund.

October 7, 2008 Posted by | Houston | , , | 1 Comment